General Motors pauses production of Cruise Origin driverless shuttle

General Motors says it will halt production of the electric robocar Cruise Origin at Factory Zero in Detroit after its subsidiary Cruise had to suspend all driverless operations last month.

Image: Honda

“We are finishing production on a small number of pre-commercial vehicles and, after that, plan to temporarily pause production,” stated GM spokesperson Kevin Kelly. He did not disclose how long production will be halted.

The GM subsidiary reportedly suspended its driverless operations last month after California regulators at the DMW revoked its license, stating the vehicles posed “an unreasonable risk to public safety.” As a result, Cruise suspended all driverless operations not only in California but also in Phoenix, Houston, Austin, Dallas and Miami. While the DMV did not share specifics then, the decision followed several accidents involving Cruise vehicles driving crewless.

In August, a Cruise robotaxi collided with a fire truck on its way to a scene with blaring sirens because the traffic light was green. A few weeks later, there was a slight collision with a pedestrian who had stepped in front of the Cruise car, also disregarding the vehicle having a green light. The system tried to avoid the pedestrian and brake but still made contact at a speed of 2 kph.

The most recent known accident occurred at the beginning of October. After an accident with another car, a female pedestrian was allegedly thrown in front of the approaching robotaxi. Although the vehicle braked immediately, it could not stop in time, and the woman became trapped underneath. However, the robotaxi probably did not recognise this but pulled over (as programmed) and dragged the trapped woman along for several metres.

It was only in the summer that both Cruise and Google’s Waymo received approval to use their driverless shuttles throughout the San Francisco metropolitan area.

Waymo was not affected by the DMV’s decision and continues using its vehicles. Therefore, it is a significant setback for Cruise. The company also worked with Honda toward offering driverless ride-hailing services in Tokyo in 2026.

Waymo, on the other hand, has already launched driverless Uber rides in Phoenix. See what they may be doing differently here.

As for Cruise – the vehicles involved in the above accidents weren’t Origin shuttles but Chevrolet Bolt EVs equipped with additional sensors. The Cruise Origin was presented in early 2020 as a six-seater shuttle developed in collaboration with General Motors, Cruise and Honda.

detroitnews.com, forbes.com


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